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Eat the Cherry on Top First. Really.

Jack Craven
November 7, 2016

Many of my clients feel overwhelmed by their seemingly unending workload. They put their needs last after the needs of their company and family members. As a  result, they feel exhausted and depleted. They set a schedule and pace that is unattainable​.​ There is no room to take a break or collect thoughts.​ ​I can relate. 

I’m a world class list maker. I have lots of “to-dos” and I believe that I take pride in getting things done quickly.​ ​Yet no matter how many things I knockoff my list, within a day it’s overflowing again. Sound familiar? 

A few years ago I noticed that things that I perceived as frivolous or lofty (relax and read, walk along the beach, creative and reflective unstructured time), never seemed to move high enough up on my list to actually happen. Some might call this “me time.” This de-prioritization of me-time happened day after day, for weeks, and then months. 

I felt depleted and drained. My creative side had been neglected, and it showed up in the form of  impatience, irritability, and unhappiness. When the results were intolerable enough, I finally took responsibility for my actions and the results. I made the choices that led to feeling depleted. I chose to withhold what I wanted. I judged “me time” as not being important. I needed to face the truth of my current choice in order to open to the possibility of making another one. 

I still have my to-do list and get tasks done in a hyper-efficient manner. The difference is that I put my needs at the top of the list and make sure that I do them frequently. In fact, sometimes I do them first. I call this the cherry on top first plan. It seems decadent.  I do what I most want to do first,, rather than depriving myself of  of these things for days, weeks or months. This has become the norm because I experienced a counter-intuitive result. I’m happier, feel more fulfilled and my creative side feels nourished. And, I still got everything else done that was important. Talk about a win-win!

I share this philosophy with my clients who also put their own needs at the bottom of their to-do list. They got the same results. They are happier, feel more alive and refreshed, and the work still got done. 

Are you willing to start prioritizing what you most want to do?​ ​Try adding one small thing per day this coming week and see what happens. Based on what my clients and I have experienced, I foresee many more cherries in your future.

Jack Craven
Jack Craven is an executive coach to business leaders, and the teams and companies they lead.

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